4-Proven Steps To Shift Your Anxious Mindset

When anxiety symptoms spike, hitting the snooze button one too many times or wishing we can stay in bed is often desired. But, because that’s not an option for most of us, there are a few simple ways that we can shift your anxious mindset.

It starts with changing the way we react to anxiety.

According to a recent study by Harvard and Yale researchers, we have the power to alter our mindset and change how we feel and act when we’re under pressure.

“Individuals who endorse a stress-is-enhancing mindset reported having better health than those who endorse a stress-is-debilitating mindset,” research found. “Specifically, respondents reported fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety while also reporting higher levels of energy.”

So, instead of letting our bad days get the best of us, we can make a conscious effort to flip the script and see it as a challenge worth accepting.

Let’s take a look at 4 strategies, to help us achieve a better mood:

1. Breathe

We talk a lot about the importance of breathing to reduce stress and anxiety symptoms, and we’ve even highlighted some of our favourite breathing techniques. Breathing might seem like a rather simple step and perhaps might even make you question - can it really work?

However, when we begin feeling stressed, anxious or simply overwhelmed, one of the first things we forget - is to breathe. Lack of proper breathing contributes to anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue and other physical and emotional symptoms.

When people are anxious they tend to take rapid, shallow breaths that come directly from the chest. This type of breathing is called thoracic or chest breathing. Chest breathing causes an upset in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body resulting in increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other physical sensations.

In contrast, abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing is a relaxing pattern that helps you balance your oxygen and carbon dioxide levels and can calm you down.

So, next time somebody tells you to breathe when you’re stressed or anxious - try it!

2. Go for a walk

When we go for a walk or run, our bodies produce a chemical called endocannabanoids, which helps us de-stress, according to research from the University of Heidelberg. The theory is that our bodies release this natural drug to take the edge off physical activity - which, back in the day, was essential to find food and flee predators.

A reason why runners like running - and even feel good doing it!

The good news? You don’t have to run all the time to release this chemical hormone. Going for a short walk or a little run will increase your body’s release of endocannabinoids and will help you shift your mindset.

3. Challenge Accepted

If you’re a competitive person, viewing your stresses as an obstacle you have to overcome can create a healthy competition. Researchers have found, treating your stress as something you learn from rather than dwelling on the negative aspect can help you feel less stressed.

Next time you’re in a challenge, try flipping your perspective - don’t see it as a block to a good day, identify it, then accept it as a challenge. By this simple approach, you will overcome your obstacles in a healthy way and not a loathing way.

Try it out the next time you’re faced with a challenge and see how you feel.

4. Try empathizing

When you’re feeling anxious because you’re stuck in traffic and then somebody cuts you off and now you’re feeling distressed as well, it can be easy to cuss them out and flip a finger and let it ruin your day.

However, a suggestion is to place yourself in the place of the other person.

What if the other driver had a family emergency? Just received really bad news? Is running late for a really important occasion or meeting?

Showing empathy costs you nothing and can change everything.

So, bottom line: Stress is a natural part of our day-to-day, and feelings of anxiety can come up. We can’t avoid it - but we can flip it when it comes up. It’s got nothing on you.

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Noor Aubaid